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Trump’s Contract On America: “Austerity, With the Chance of a Trade War”

[ 98 ] August 8, 2016 |

trump kfc

Donald Trump decided to talk policy today. Some gestures about trade and a single, targeted tax loophole elimination aside, he expressed standard-issue Republican ideas. In other words, it was probably nuttier than the typical Donald Trump campaign day:

Thus, the GOP nominee tried to change the conversation Monday, by focusing on the issues that really matter to the American people — like increasing the inheritance enjoyed by the children of millionaires, slashing regulations on Wall Street, and accelerating the onset of catastrophic climate change.

[…]

Along with these lukewarm appeals to the center of the electorate, Trump doled out hot slabs of red meat to the Republican donor class. The GOP nominee called for repealing “the death tax,” which is to say the tax on the estates of multimillionaires. There is no public interest in repealing this tax, unless one believes that the American economy is currently plagued by too little inequality. Then the candidate who has accused his opponent of being “controlled” by Wall Street proposed a moratorium on all new federal regulations, including those aimed at financial institutions. Finally, Trump pledged to revive the coal industry by repealing Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

While Trump didn’t mention entitlement reform, he also didn’t vow to defend those programs. And his combination of tax cuts, vows to increase spending on the military and law enforcement, and the bipartisan fear of growing deficits would almost certainly require cuts to America’s threadbare social safety net. Thus, the forecast for the Trump economy looks like austerity, with a chance of trade war.

There are many terrifying things about the possibility of Donald Trump become president. The fact that he would sign pretty much whatever legislation Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put on his desk remians among the most terrifying.

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  1. brad says:

    But Hillary would kill fewer people, therefore making her the greater monster by virtue of not causing the great brocialist led uprising that Lolcats and FdB have spent careers prepping for.

  2. CrunchyFrog says:

    Did you see that Clinton derangement is back in full force?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/two-benghazi-parents-sue-hillary-clinton-wrongful-death-defamation-n625861

    It’s way past time to stop pretending that these extreme wingnuts might have a point, or that there are two sides to this issue. This us 100% political opportunism, replete with double standards. The proper response is not to ignore this but to counter everything with a file of data, petition for a summary dismissal including all legal costs paid by plaintiff, AND file a counter suit against the plaintiffs and their wingnut backers for harassment.

    • randy khan says:

      I was worried that this might go somewhere until I saw that they’re represented by Larry Klayman.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        There’s nothing to this. Nothing. I’m sure Klayman is backed by one of the usual suspects.

      • cleter says:

        It doesn’t have to go anywhere. It just has to enable some both-sides-do-it Broderism. Trump, and his fraud lawsuit, isn’t unique any more. It takes the Trump University bullshit off the table. If Hillary brings that up, Trump can respond with “you’re being sued for MURDERING OUR BRAVE BENGHAZI BOYS, CROOKED HILLARY CLINTON!” and the pundits will nod and stroke their collective beards and say, “Hillary has legal problems of her own.”

      • The parents were represented by Washington, D.C., lawyer Larry Klayman, a frequent critic of the Clintons.

        “a frequent critic of the Clintons” is an odd way to say “infamous scam artist and purveyor of frivolous lawsuits.”

        The “critic of the Clintons” framing is particularly objectionable considering that he’s spent the last 8 years suing Obama, Eric Holder, Rachel Maddow, Esquire, Facebook, etc. He was an active birther as recently as 2013 and he sued the administration for allowing Ebola into the country in order to wipe out the “Caucasian race”. He sued Obama, Holder, and basically ever black activist ever for causing a “race war”. Etc. etc. etc.

        He’s a crackpot and an ambulance chaser. He attacked the Clintons because they were there and they weren’t Republicans.

  3. efgoldman says:

    I wonder how the kids are getting Hair Fuehrer to take his Thorazine? AND keeping him away from tweetster.
    Something in his Ovaltine?

    • JL says:

      He’s not schizophrenic, he’s just a bigoted proto-fascist demagogue with a massive ego.

      • (((Hogan))) says:

        Psychiatric diagnosis is the racial/ethnic slur that the educated white middle/upper class reserves for each other. I hope I live long enough to see that disappear, but I’m pretty sure I don’t have that long.

        • los says:

          I saw a humorous link today or yesterday, “Psychiatrists warn not to try diagnosing Donald Trump” (Something like that. Wasn’t the onion or harddawn, etc))

          morphphrasing: “Never assume psychosis when evil will suffice”

        • I’m mentally ill and I mostly agree.

          I dislike when people use specific medical conditions like schizophrenia. I’m less bothered by stuff like “narcissist” and “sociopath”, because those are descriptions of behavior more than formal diagnoses.

          I can’t really get too bothered by “crazy”, “wacko”, “insane”, etc. These are, again, terms that describe behavior. There’s always going to be some term that means “they are behaving in a dangerously erratic way” or “their behavior is likely to cause harm” or “they are disregarding logic in their choices”. Even “foolish”, “stupid”, “dumb”, etc. are historically connected to disparagement of the mentally ill and neurologically disabled.

      • Lee Rudolph says:

        According to Wikipedia, although Thorazine “is primarily used to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia”, its “other uses include the treatment of bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, nausea and vomiting, anxiety before surgery, and hiccups that do not improve following other measures” (my emphasis). The last of these is, of course, indistinguishable from Trump’s tweeting and speechifying; I am confident that was the diagnosis our colleague dr goldman had in mind.

        ETA: I assume that dr goldman may also have had in mind Dr. Harry Gibson’s magnum opus.

        • postmodulator says:

          Thorazine for hiccups is my favorite off-label use, ever.

          • Uatu says:

            One of my great aunts took reserpine to control her blood pressure. The doctor kept her on it because she did well and exhibited no adverse effects from its’ long-term use.

          • Lester Freamon's Tweedy Impertinence says:

            I’ve given that! I had a patient with a couple of gunshot wounds who was ventilated and sedated and the poor fucker got the hiccups. Turns out there’s no combination of vent settings that won’t trigger an alarm from a hiccup. That was a long fucking day, silencing the vent alarm every two (literally 2) minutes or listen to the vent sing its alarm song. Gave him thorazine (25 mg IV Q12 hours PRN) and we had blissful silence. For half an hour.

            • cpinva says:

              shortly after I was released from the hospital, having had a quad by-pass, I developed a bad case of hiccups, which was apparently triggered by one of the post-op drugs I was taking. it was kind of funny, at first. after a day and night of it, not so funny. I called the PA to report the problem, and try to get something that would make it stop, without having a bad interaction with any of the other dozen or so meds I was taking.

              that was the first and only time I’ve ever had the hiccups go on for more than 15 minutes or so, and I hope it never happens again.

              • Turangalila says:

                Too late to look it up, but I seem to recall a 60 Minutes or 20/20 segment, back in the ’80s or ’90s, about an old dude (maybe down south someplace?) who had had the hiccups for 30 or 40 years.

                • los says:

                  in the ’80s or ’90s, about an old dude (maybe down south someplace?) who had had the hiccups for 30 or 40 years
                  Hilleree was olreddy old then1! Donnell Trump wuldnt let that happin

                  .
                  “Meak America Stop Hillerry Hiccups buy voteen Donnelld Trump”
                  Ernest T. Blogger

              • los says:

                you domb liberels didnt know that Donnell Trump will stop the hiccups when we ban the muslins11! if can’t say the word you won’t know you know111!!

                .
                Maek America With No Hiccups biuy voteen Donnelld Trump
                Ernest T. Blogger

          • tsam says:

            Thus proving that hiccups are a sign of psychosis.

        • efgoldman says:

          I assume that dr goldman may also have had in mind Dr. Harry Gibson’s

          Back in the 70s, when I was in an Army reserve hospital unit, we spent a Sunday touring and getting an orientation at the notorious Bridgewater (MA) State “Hospital for the criminally insane.” It may have been the single most depressing day of my 71+ years.
          They told us that Thorazine was the drug they used to control the inmates; it also came out in the various lawsuits against the state over conditions at the institution, that massive doses were given whether it was medically appropriate or not.
          So given Hair Fuehrer’s relatively subdued behavior since Friday, I thought it was snark worth snarking.
          But then you’d have had to intuit the context, wouldn’t you. Not likely; as they say, if you have to explain the joke….

    • Gregor Sansa says:

      You mean, Hair Furor.

  4. randy khan says:

    I’m still having a hard time deciding what’s the most terrifying aspect of a potential Trump presidency.

    I’ve been going with nuclear war, on the theory that it’s about the worst thing that could happen, but it’s a much lower probability than him signing whatever whackadoodle legislation Paul Ryan’s merry band can devise, as amended by Ted Cruz, so I’m just not sure. For the moment, though, I’ve pushed ignoring climate change down the list a bit.

    • Nobdy says:

      Where on the list is “how he’ll decorate the White House?”

      Not that he’ll live there.

      As a New York resident I’m tempted to say “traffic” but that seems too local a concern.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      … but it’s a much lower probability than him signing whatever whackadoodle legislation Paul Ryan’s merry band can devise, as amended by Ted Cruz, so I’m just not sure.

      What’s funny is that Kasich, Cruz, Rubio or any of the other cast of characters would do the exact same thing. Meaning they’d all sign what ever Eddie Munster and Yertle the Tertle coughed up. So in that sense they’re no different from Trump.

    • los says:

      Scott: he would sign pretty much whatever legislation Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put on his desk remians among the most terrifying
      randy khan: whackadoodle legislation Paul Ryan’s merry band can devise, as amended by Ted Cruz
      yup, and GOPe won’t approve any ‘anti trade’ actions Trump promises, so the trumpsters have been cucked as predicted… (yawn)

  5. AMK says:

    Boy it’s almost as if the “blue collar billionaire” schtick was a scam on the rubes, and Trump is in fact just a particularly obnoxious, particularly stupid member of the money elite whose idea of government is a neofeudal aristocracy that serves him and his friends by plundering everyone and everything else. With Trump, you even get the whole prima noctis dynamic going (with his own daughter, but still).

    I have zero confidence in Hillary’s ability to take political advantage of any of this. She should really just give the trickle-down bashing portfolio to Bernie or Liz and get out of the way.

    • Nobdy says:

      Warren is arguably a better surrogate for Hillary and is already on the attack.

    • sharculese says:

      Nah, it’s way simpler than that. Trump’s economic team is mostly composed of rich guys that could stand to be around him. Only one dude on it has any experience in economics. And, as has been well documented, Trump is lazy about learning policy. I’m sure he told them he’d say whatever they told him to, and what they came back with was “tax cuts are awesome.”

      As for the last part, I’m… not sure why you think Hillary’s instructions to Warren and Sanders on Trump’s proposals will be anything other than “sure, go nuts.” Because that’s what it’s going to be.

      • Dilan Esper says:

        One other thing. The way you develop a bullshit detector is through experience in the relevant field. For instance, I have a pretty decent bullshit detector on stuff related to the practice of law, such as testimony and statements by parties and clients, statements by other lawyers, etc.

        But if we were talking about education policy (my favorite example of an area I know little about) and an ostensible expert was telling me stuff that was total BS, I might not recognize it. I don’t know enough about education policy, pedagogy, etc., to be able to know what is BS and what is true.

        Trump, whatever his knowledge of business (and he might well have a decent BS detector when it comes to people offering him business deals or similar), has no knowledge of politics or policy. So when his policy advisors tell him stuff, he has no way to separate wheat from chaff.

        George W. Bush, despite being a more experienced politician, had the same problem, by the way. He wasn’t able to figure out that Cheney and the neo-cons were selling him a line of shit on the Iraq War.

        • (((Hogan))) says:

          He wasn’t able to figure out that Cheney and the neo-cons were selling him a line of shit on the Iraq War.

          I wouldn’t necessarily rule out the “not caring” possibility.

          • tsam says:

            Yeah–and I’m not convinced he needed much persuasion on the matter.

          • Dilan Esper says:

            I don’t think this is right. If W knew that the result of the war would have been no WMD’s, chaos in Iraq, empowerment of Iran, the development of Al Qaeda in Iraq and ISIL, and the long term discrediting of his administration, I doubt he would have favored it.

            Obviously he wanted to invade Iraq, but I doubt he really didn’t care about the outcome. Cheney and the neocons assured him that the outcome would be good and he didn’t know any better.

        • los says:

          the standard”explanation/dodge” is that whoever the politician is, he/she has management and “delegation” expertise.
          But,
          Reagan “hired” multiple screwballs.
          Trump already has roger stone and, already fired that grabber guy whose name is already forgotten.

    • Alex.S says:

      Trump just abandoned his entire tax reform policy from the primary and introduced a brand new tax reform policy today.

      The media just sort of shrugged. And for good reason — there’s no point in trying to tie down Trump’s policy proposals. He had three different positions on minimum wage in thirty seconds during one interview — https://thinkprogress.org/donald-trump-takes-3-different-positions-on-the-minimum-wage-in-less-than-30-seconds-d88c8d8648ba#.a2ods98ev

      We still don’t know one of his biggest proposals, a ban on Muslim immigration. And he’s given multiple, contradictory answers trying to explain it.

      So yeah, the Clinton campaign won’t be taking political advantage of this. It takes a lot of effort to explain Trump’s policies. And then he’ll just pretend he never had then in the first place. Or switch to a new proposal. Or whatever, because everyone involved realizes that Trump has no policies and no consistency.

      • Warren Terra says:

        I think this deserves a LOT more attention. Trump actually had a tax plan, at least to some degree (it was crazy, it would have bankrupted the government, and it involved a HUGE tax cut for the wealthy, but it was similar to a plan and involved numbers), and today he described something COMPLETELY unlike that plan. This complete replacement of a signature proposal from the primaries (as opposed to some light rejiggering) would normally be a major story, calling into question the candidate’s credibility and seriousness. But as usual Trump is protected by the sheer onslaught of his transgressions and by no-one taking him seriously, and so he gets to play by different rules.

      • so-in-so says:

        Trump is the over-cooked steak of bog-standard GOP ideas, smothered in A1-craziness sauce.

        There should be something there for everyone to hate, except the rabid racists (because, they’re rabid!).

  6. Nobdy says:

    A moratorium on all federal regulations is the dumbest idea despite a very competitive field of dumb ideas.

    What happens if something crops up that needs regulating?

    Jesus Christ the Republicans seem to be looking at Somalia and saying “it would be paradise if it just had a weaker central government and no black people.”

    How did they get to be the party of patriotism when they hate this country so much?

    I know, I know, messaging and sheer repetition.

    • efgoldman says:

      A moratorium on all federal regulations is the dumbest idea despite a very competitive field of dumb ideas.

      Republiklown RWNJ TeaHadis in the krazy kaukus can’t prove that government is a failure without causing government to fail.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      Jesus Christ the Republicans seem to be looking at Somalia and saying “it would be paradise if it just had a weaker central government and no black people.”

      That was the premise behind their governing philosophy when they took over Iraq. Their first Iraqi pro-consul was Paul Bremer. As is typical for failed right-wing CEOs, he departed unwillingly, blaming others for his failure. Usually CEOs blame their sales guys. In Bremer’s case, though, he blamed the Iraqis. “But I cut the top income tax rate to 15%!” he was heard screaming as he was drug down the hall to the awaiting transport plane. Never mind that no taxes were being collected in the sheer chaos he created by, among other brilliant ideas, firing all Iraqi police (they were too liberal or something) and having Heritage Foundation interns train their replacements. Never mind anything reality-based. This was going to be the great glorious free market paradise.

      Of course, in the end, it failed. Because they weren’t conservative enough.

    • Arouet says:

      Dumbest in this speech or period? Because I don’t think it’s possible for him to one-up nuking Europe – no new regulations would be bad, but not quite on that scale.

  7. NewishLawyer says:

    The speech seemed to largely try and appeal to GOP purity points.

    Hopefully it won’t succeed.

    A few weeks ago, This American Life had a piece on a GOP fundraiser. Guy raised lots of money for the GOP and donated the same. Did not make any donations or meetings with Trump during the primaries. He was telling Channa Joffe about all the tough as nails questions he was going to ask Trump in their meeting. Trump played the guy and his dad like a fiddle and Mr. Republican Tough Guy got in no questions.

    I found this strangely angering and satisfying at the same time.

    In other news, 538 shows polls have flipped GA and Arizona to blue. Yet Trump still gets 42 percent of the vote.

  8. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Now is a great opportunity to go one better than Trump on the “death tax”.

    Trump: “set the ‘Death Tax’ to ZERO!”

    Snarki: “set the ‘Death Tax’ to NEGATIVE! That’s right, when a billionaire dies, the IRS pays a bonus! Now, it’s important to prevent cheating in such an important financial matter, so in order to claim the ‘Billionaire Death Refundable Tax Credit’, you have to mail in the head stapled to your Form-666X.”

    Hey, I think it’s an entirely worthwhile use of government funds.

    • Warren Terra says:

      This notion could spread to other areas! The liberals propose a “Tobin Tax” to discourage high-frequency trading and other hyperkinetic speculation by imposing a tiny little fractional tax on every equity transaction – but Trump can show he believes in the markets by proposing a negative Tobin tax!

    • los says:

      I love the poorly taxed
      /trump tweet

  9. Alex.S says:

    Donald Trump decided to talk policy today. Some gestures about trade and a single, targeted tax loophole elimination aside, he expressed standard-issue Republican ideas. In other words, it was probably nuttier than the typical Donald Trump campaign day:

    I’d say today was pretty mild. Only one unhinged conspiracy that was completely unrelated to the campaign’s “theme” of the day.

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/762781826549030912

    Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.

    -Donald Trump, wresting control of his twitter account back from the campaign.

  10. Hells Littlest Angel says:

    Also terrifying: being eaten by a family of deranged cannibals in a shack in the desert. I consider that prospect to be slightly more probable than Little Gloves being the President of the United States.

    • Denverite says:

      That’s a tough one. If Trump becomes president, the odds of being eaten alive by a family of deranged cannibals in a shack in the desert increase significantly. You really need some Bayesian chops to figure this one out.

  11. Nobdy says:

    From the New York Post a take so hot you will be viciously scorched by it. Wear oven mitts before you click on this one, folks.

    http://nypost.com/2016/08/08/trumps-revolution-should-be-embraced-by-both-parties/

  12. MobiusKlein says:

    Note in the picture you can see the individual salt & pepper shakers he’s ‘using’ to ‘season’ his KFC he is going to ‘eat’.

    It frightens me more that he actually might have a personal jet and eats KFC on it, vs it being just for show.

    • Hells Littlest Angel says:

      Those salt & pepper shakers sure are tiny. I wonder why. Oh, right.

    • NonyNony says:

      Dear Grod – you’re right!

      Who puts salt on their Kentucky Fried Chicken? Is he trying to provoke a heart attack?

      (I’m pretty sure it’s for show, though. Nobody who eats fast food fried chicken leaves the mashed potatoes and gravy in the container and sticks a lonely piece of chicken onto their plate.)

  13. econoclast says:

    The idea that he would sign pretty much whatever legislation Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put on his desk is not the most terrifying. (It’s also — Godwin alert — pretty similar to what van Papen thought about Hitler.) He’d do it until he gets bored, and then he’ll pick weird random fights with the both of them over who knows what. Every second he spends signing their legislation is another second he’s not getting on TV. Sometimes he’ll attack them from the right, and sometimes from the left, and it will be total chaos.

    More terrifying is that he would almost certainly destroy the post-war security order. He’s picking fights with the Philippines now, for god’s sake. I don’t know what would happen after he manages to smash all of the US’s alliances, but I suspect nothing good.

  14. […] More here. Coincidentally, huge benefits for his family — which means maybe a crumb or two for his supporters. Speaking of which, Trump had to endorse Ryan before he could steal Ryan’s bold, radical economic plan (again, the same old shit). […]

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